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No small feet: Kicks Band announces big band dance events

FM Kicks Band will perform big band dance music at its performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, at MSUM's Comstock Ballroom.

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FM Kicks Band performs with guest vocalist Monroe Wright III in April 2022 at First Lutheran Church in Fargo. Executive Director and Music Director Tim Johnson stand in the background.
Contributed / FM Kicks Band
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Jazz up that weeknight routine and cut a rug with FM Kicks Band at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in Minnesota State University Moorhead's Comstock Ballroom for a big band dance sesh.

The free event is open to all, during which the local 17-piece music group will perform big band for dancers and spectators looking to jazz up a typical Tuesday evening.

WATCH: FM Kicks Big Band Dance Samples

“You’ll hear music that you know and some that you don't, but you’ll like all of it,” said Tim Johnson, FM Kicks Band executive director and music director. “The best thing is no talent or dance style is required to attend.”

Tim Johnson, FM Kicks Band executive director and music director, at Jazz Fest 2021.jpg
Tim Johnson, FM Kicks Band executive director and music director, at Jazz Fest 2021
Contributed / FM Kicks Band

Johnson said participants don’t have to dance, or even know how to dance, to be a part of the event. Part of the event’s intent is to create exposure for jazz arts in the Fargo-Moorhead and West Fargo communities.

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“I think the whole thing about this event and others we put on is to build support for the jazz arts, because it’s authentic to America. It started here,” he said. “When you look back, in the 1940s, there were once 1,500 or more big bands and people made their living doing this. We want to keep the art alive.”

FM Kicks Band members are semi-professional musicians who consider their participation “second jobs,” Johnson said, one that fulfills their love of jazz arts and creates a broader respect for American musical traditions such as funk and rock, too.

“The biggest thing we want to do is break the barriers that jazz is boring old elevator music,” he said. “We try to play something for everyone, like a Quincy Jones version of a country song is something we’d do, for sure.”

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FM Kicks Band plays at Gooseberry Park in Moorhead in this undated photo.
Contributed / FM Kicks Band

More about FM Kicks Band

Founded in 1975, Kicks Band of Fargo Moorhead is a 17-piece band hosts many events a year, including jazz history concerts and an annual Jazz Fest every August.

The group also supports music education efforts by hosting artist residencies at local schools to provide students with one-on-one training sessions and jazz history lessons, an homage to Kicks founder Ed Christianson, longtime band director at Fargo North High School.

In addition to live, public performances, FM Kicks Band also books private parties such as weddings, anniversaries, school reunions and memorial celebrations. Contact Tim Johnson fmkicksband@gmail.com for more info.

The big band concert series and several other events hosted by FM Kicks Band are funded in part by The Arts Partnership and funding provided by the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation.

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Upcoming Kicks Band events

What: Big Band Dance with FM Kicks Band
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 11, Nov. 22, Feb. 28 and March 28
Where: MSUM's Comstock Memorial Ballroom
Tickets: Free for all ages; free-will donations accepted

What: Fall Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: First Lutheran Church, Fargo
More: Featuring classic and contemporary big band charts of Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, George Gershwin and Count Basie.
Tickets: Adults $20; College ID $10; 18 years and under free

What: “The Originals” Recording Release Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19
Where: TAK Music Venue, Dilworth
More: Featuring big band arrangements of area FM performers celebration of our recent recording session. Arrangements of Ed Christianson, MSUM professor emeritus Allen Carter, as well as Russ Peterson, Ralph Mutchler Ed Schwind, Dave Zielinski and more.
Tickets: Adults $10; 18 and under free

Read more from The Arts Partnership
A handful of local artists have been working with Memory Cafe of the Red River Valley to bring those living with a dementia and their care partners a place to go.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit theartspartnership.net.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit theartspartnership.net.
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